Commence Cat Lady Conversion

February 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Recently, my Instagram feed and search history have begun looking like this:

sibe cats ig

sibe cats ig 2

Reason being: If all goes well, I should have my very own Siberian kitten by July!

Because of my allergies, I never imagined that I would actually have a cat. But the idea was planted on my last visit to the Meow Parlour cat cafe (on the day of the mega-blizzard, no less) as I flipped through their binder of adoptable cats and wished I could take all of them home.

Instead, I looked up a list of hypoallergenic cats — however, none are 100% allergen-free, and the list is pretty short, especially compared to hypoallergenic dog breeds. Of the handful of cat breeds, none stood out as much as the Siberian cat. (Most of the other ones were scary- or weird-looking…no offense!) I mean, just look at them:

So beautiful.

Most people who see a Siberian think that its long fur means extra shedding and allergens, but apparently this isn’t the case! Compared to other cats, this native Russian breed somehow produces much less of the protein (Fel d 1) that causes allergic reactions.

A brief search of shelters in NYC didn’t turn up any Siberians — figures they’d be in high demand — so my only option was to purchase a kitten from a breeder. Not ideal, but worth it for the joy of having a cat I can breathe around.

If you ever want to experience an Internet time warp, visit any cat breeder website. The majority of the ones I found were practically Geocities-era: cats framed in flowers, cheesy fonts, buttons shaped like lace doilies or just bare-bones text and randomly formatted photos. I emailed a bunch in the NYC area but had my heart set on one that came highly recommended by a friend who got her gorgeous Siberian from them.

I’ll be sure to post a full write-up and review of the breeders once I get my kitten, but first things first — I had to really make sure I could handle being around a Siberian. So we set up a date for me to visit their home/cattery, where I played with one of their male breeders (AKA a stud) for an hour.

My future kitty's daddy!

My future kitty’s daddy!

Actually being up close to a Siberian made me fall in love even more! He was so cute and fluffy and just perfect in every way! My lungs still tickled a little bit from being in the same room, but the symptoms were nowhere near what I’d normally experience. They told me that a neutered/spayed cat produces even less allergens, so a minor reaction to the stud should be fine.

So I put down a deposit, but their next litter isn’t expected until April, and they don’t send their kittens to new owners until 12 weeks of age. It’s a long time to wait! This must be what people feel like when they’re trying to conceive. I want my kitty so badly — I’ve been researching cat toys and furnishings obsessively, planning out where I want to put everything in the apartment, watching cat videos of the cute and/or educational variety — how can I wait another six months?? Ahhhhhh! Every time I see a picture of a cat, I feel a surge of yearning for my own.

There were other options for me to get a Siberian kitten much sooner (and for a cheaper price) but I trust in the quality and legitimacy of these breeders, so I’ll wait. In the meantime, I’m quickly becoming the crazy cat lady I was always destined to be.

Pants for Dad

February 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

This story comes a month late, but I think it’s still worth sharing! I like to write a blog post every year when I’m home for the holidays, so here’s mine from Christmas 2015:

On the evening of Tuesday, December 22, my parents and I spent almost an hour and a half at Macy’s…just to buy a pair of $39 pants.

We had already gone to a number of stores (Whole Foods, Ulta, Target), and Macy’s was our last stop. Mom was trying to spend $40 in Macy’s Money she had gotten for spending $200 online. Before we left the house, she tried to print the coupon from her iPad, but whenever we tried to enter the captcha to print, the popup disappeared. We figured the cashier could just look it up in her Macy’s account. Macy’s customer service is always obliging as long as you’re a cardholder!

We didn’t really have anything in mind to buy, but I brought up to mom that dad really needed some new pants. Since coming home, the only pants I had seen him wear were baggy, light-wash jeans that would fit someone 40 pounds heavier than him. His belt cinched so much extra material that at first glance I thought he was wearing jeans with an elasic waistband. They’re not just dad jeans, they’re dad jeans for the formerly fat dad.

The thing is, my dad has never been fat. And right now, he’s quite trim at 160 pounds. But he likes his pants loose and cheap — he’s proud of buying them for $7 from whatever clearance department he trolls on his business trips.

So at Macy’s, I grabbed a pair of black Levi’s (regular fit, slightly relaxed in the thigh) and made him try them on. He came out complaining that they were too tight but mom and I both agreed they fit him perfectly! Plus they were on sale.

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Night of Terrors

October 27, 2015 § 2 Comments

A little bit of violence entered our lives on Friday night.

J and I were staying at Hotel Sorella in Kansas City, en route to my friend’s wedding in Columbia the next day. We were exhausted from traveling all morning and had turned in early to get a good night’s sleep.

Around 2:30 a.m., we both happened to wake up to use the bathroom. As we settled back into bed, we heard a faint noise in the hallway. The noise got louder and became recognizable as screaming — someone yelling “I need help!”

For a few seconds, I lay paralyzed. Oh my god. Someone is dying in the hallway.

Then J scrambled out of bed to put clothes on and check it out. I stumbled to the phone and called the front desk.

“There’s someone screaming ‘I need help’ in the hallway,” I told the staff who picked up.
“Got it,” she replied. “We already had a call about the noise so we have an off-duty police officer coming to check it out.”
The screaming was getting louder.
“Okay, but please hurry because it sounds pretty bad,” I said.

I put down the phone and went to the door, heart fluttering with panic. Just before waking up, I had had a dream that I had almost gotten shot by someone on the street, and now I imagined a crazed killer running loose in the hotel and threatening my boyfriend’s life.

J was standing right outside the door. About ten feet away, leaning against the hotel’s striped wall, was a woman. She was completely naked. I didn’t have my glasses on but could see she was pretty scratched up. She had stopped screaming but was still moaning in fear and pain. She wouldn’t look at us and didn’t move as we tried to coax her into our room to safety.

Finally, we got her in the door, and I realized that she was beat up pretty horrifically, with bruises all over her face and some bad cuts on her right arm that were still bleeding.

I took her into the bathroom and wrapped a towel around her. She was shaking and crying, alternately moaning that her head hurt and that she needed help. I was terrified for our safety. What if her attacker came back and tried to hurt all of us?

I had J bring us a bathrobe so I could cover her up properly. The big cut on her arm was so bad that I couldn’t bear to look at it, though I did see that a chunk of skin was hanging off. She couldn’t even put her arm through the sleeve.

I just held her as we stood against the bathroom wall with the door closed and the fan on so we couldn’t make out whatever J was saying from the bedroom as he desperately called for police and an ambulance. I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t want to risk her running off on her own.

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Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.

summerstage

We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.

msmr

Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.

BUT WHY WITH THE TALKING??? WHY??

I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.

The Houses of San Francisco

September 20, 2015 § 6 Comments

The most striking thing to me about San Francisco, apart from the hills, is how uniformly cute and old the buildings are. For example, this bewitching beauty looks like it’s straight out of a picture book:

7-wicked

I wondered, though, what these houses looked like on the inside.

During my visit, I stayed with Kaiti, who lives in an unassuming apartment building with bay windows. Bay windows are ubiquitous in this town!

She told me her building dated back to the 1920s; the floors and doors creaked so loudly it was like screeching. When I was home by myself on Monday, I could hear someone above me walking around, opening and shutting drawers, and thought to myself it could very well be a ghost in a building with this much history. (I might’ve been delirious.)

Anyway, I was enamored with some of the colorful Victorian rowhouses we came across, but I feel like it must be a lot of work to upkeep, plus I don’t like living in old buildings, so I just appreciated them from the outside.

2-yellow

So cute!

4-square

Such intricate details!

They certainly make the buildings in NYC look bland.

This pink house has seen better days, but just the thought of living in a pink house (THE DREAM!) made me smile.

1-pink

We also saw some very large and ornate gates (the one on the right was like 12 feet tall; you can see the tiny shape of the actual door in the bottom half).

3-gates

Kaiti decided to pose on a few stoops, like we were just friendly neighbors.

5 scallop

Scalloped and baby blue — SO PRETTY

Vibrant and McDonald's colored

Vibrant and McDonald’s colored

This house has wings?!

This house has wings?!

SF Day 1: The Agony & the Ecstasy
SF Day 2: Staying Alive
SF Day 3.1: A New Morning

SF Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die
SF Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

San Francisco Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

September 17, 2015 § 5 Comments

I saved the Golden Gate Bridge for my last full day because I figured it would involve a lot of walking, which I was finally up for doing by Wednesday.

Kaiti and I started our day at Turtle Tower, a well-known Vietnamese restaurant in the Tenderloin area. She recommended I get their chicken noodle soup, which was good, but came with so many noodles that they sucked up all the soup before I had finished even half the bowl!

1-turtle

1-noodles

While planning for my trip, I had read that Tenderloin was to be avoided, but I couldn’t be sure how sketchy it really was. Kaiti seemed to be fine walking through it by herself.

After our brunch, we walked around the area trying to buy a box of tissues for our drippy noses (I had forgotten to bring my usual cache), and I decided that those cautioning against traveling through Tenderloin had the right idea. Everything was run-down and far less cute or well-maintained compared to the rest of the city. There were also a surprising number of Vietnamese restaurants — interesting that these businesses coexist peacefully alongside the sketchy Tenderloin population?

Random passport cover on the street

Random passport cover on the street

We finally found some tissues at a Walgreens. The ramshackle bodegas we tried were no help.

Then, onward to the bridge! For some reason the address that Kaiti put into her Lyft app directed us to the other side of the bridge, so we drove back and forth across it for no reason (including paying the extra tolls?!). At least it saved us the effort of walking across it I guess.

2-drive

I saw quite a few of these GoCars around the city. Three wheels with hardly any visible protection from the elements/other cars — doesn’t look very safe to me?!

2-trike

3-bridge

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San Francisco Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die

September 14, 2015 § 5 Comments

hed2

I didn’t have definite plans for the afternoon, which is why I somehow agreed to the grueling hike over and up to Coit Tower from the Ferry Building (I think Kaiti was trying to kill me). It’s only a mile from the Ferry Building, but the last bit consists of 400 stairs, and I really thought I was going to die. I would’ve been fine if I weren’t sick, but alas, my body barely managed the climb.

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

So far away T__T

Halfway to the tower, but still so far away T__T

I took a lot of breaks LOL

I took a lot of breaks LOL

31-stairs

UGHHH KILL MEEEE

Blackberries on the way up?

Blackberries on the way up

The views at the top of Telegraph Hill were a small consolation. The bottom level of Coit Tower had a cool wraparound mural and small gift shop. We didn’t go up the tower elevator because we didn’t want to wait in line, and sadly, we did not see or hear any parrots.

31-view

Looooong Bay Bridge

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